AMC is opening ‘almost all’ of it’s US theaters in July: too soon?

John David Washington in Tenet
This is a still of John David Washington from the trailer for Tenet, out July 17

Things are opening up again and it feels too soon. The coronavirus is surging in the US population, with 136,000 new cases on Sunday, which The Washington Post reports was “the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.” People are tired of staying in their homes and they’re tired of not seeing friends. We’re also bored of watching shows on our couch.

AMC has just announced that they plan to reopen in July. They’re the chain that got into a feud with Universal over their decision to release Trolls World Tour on VOD. The AMC CEO refused to screen Universal movies after that and the National Association of Theater Owners released their own statement supporting AMC. Plus less than a week ago we heard that AMC could go bankrupt. They’re just trying to stay in business but they’re putting people’s life at risk and giving a false sense of security. The CEO made the announcement on a call yesterday that they plan to open almost all of their US and British theaters, 90% of them, sometime in mid-July. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is set to open on July 17 and Mulan is coming on July 24. They’re going to show the most popular movies on more screens so they can enforce social distancing.

On an earnings call yesterday, the company’s CEO Adam Aron said that he expects 97 percent of the company’s US locations to reopen by next month, after AMC was forced to close theaters in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. AMC operates over 1,000 theaters, and more than 11,000 screens, globally. Recent surveys, however, suggest that movie-goers aren’t ready to return in substantial numbers.

ACM relies entirely on public gatherings to make its money, posting a $2.2 billion net loss in the first quarter of the year. It made “virtually no revenue” in the last two weeks of March, according to The Wall Street Journal…

“We’ll double or triple or quadruple the number of auditoriums showing Tenet or Mulan to make up for the reduced-capacity limitations,” Aron said, “So we have a lot of arrows [in] our quiver to make sure that the seat capacity limitations don’t hurt us.”

[From The Verge]

Going to the movies is one of my favorite things. While Tenet looks awesome I’m not about to sit in a theater, even if it’s socially distanced, for two hours. The verdict is still sort-of out as to whether air conditioning can spread the virus. We did go to a protest over the weekend, but that was outside, most people were wearing masks, and we socially distanced. However I noticed a local restaurant open, with their doors closed, that was packed this week. It’s scary and I think we’re going to see so many more cases in the coming weeks. It’s just not worth the risk.

movie theater

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Photos from Luis Quintero and Monica Silvestre via Pexels and screenshot from Youtube

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61 Responses to “AMC is opening ‘almost all’ of it’s US theaters in July: too soon?”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    The one thing I can see with some theaters is that if there are assigned seats, you can space people out appropriately and require mask wearing. But then you need someone to enforce those seat assignments and the mask wearing.

    I am in MD and I definitely feel like we are opening too soon. Our governor went from a total shutdown to indoor dining being okay (starting tomorrow at 5) in less than a month. He’s not even following his own “recovery roadmap” as he calls it. Our hospitalizations ARE down but we haven’t really seen the impact of the reopening measures yet, so it really feels like he saw some poll numbers with people ticked that we are still in shutdown and he’s like, “well, I guess we have no choice.” I’m trying to have faith that he is still following the science but it really doesn’t feel like it anymore.

    • MaryContrary says:

      I hear you. I’m in CA and I was so happy with how quickly and completely our governor shut everything down. He said he wouldn’t bow to political pressure, but then did start everything opening up. Our family has made the decision to basically still quarantine. We only really go out for groceries/necessities, we always wear masks (and most people are honoring that). Our first social gathering is going to be this weekend-we’re having another family over for drinks in the driveway. They’ll bring their own drinks/beach chairs and we’ll spread out. Sigh. The whole thing is so hard to navigate. I’m sure at some point my husband will have to start business travel, and my kids will go back to school (in whatever that configuration is) in the fall. We’ll be way more exposed then. And-no movie theaters for me!

      • Case says:

        I’m so confused about how quickly CA is moving now. I’m on the other side of the country, but I really thought CA was handling it best. Now all of the sudden Disneyland is opening next month? What?

        I’m so uneasy how we’re all being asked to accept that we’re pushing to reopen whether we like it or not. Much of it is down to personal choice, as you said — I haven’t seen anyone other than my parents this whole time, and I think I’m going to start seeing my friends by sitting outside my house six-feet apart with no eating — but we will in some ways be forced back out, either by work responsibilities, school, etc. On top of that, I think some relationships will become strained if some people are anxious to get together and other people feel unsafe doing so. It’s an awful situation.

      • Thea says:

        I feel the same way about newsom. I’m so confused by everything that opened up so quickly. I’m still staying at home. I do miss my workouts though.

        And you just know that when there’s a spike (not that there isn’t one right now), they’re gonna blame the protesters and not everything opening up too soon. The majority of people wear masks at the protest. But walking around everyday, I barely see people wearing masks anymore. 🤦‍♀️

    • Becks1 says:

      and one of our top public health officials is now tweeting that he doesn’t agree with the guidelines and opening up shopping malls and casinos is going to lead to a spike in cases and we should continue to quarantine to keep the numbers low. Sigh.

  2. Darla says:

    Nope. So far the science is saying you are pretty safe outdoors, especially in the sun, and then add masks to that, you’re good. I am spending a lot of time outdoors. Bike riding, walking, going to outdoor gardens etc. I will not be indoors. No movie theaters and no indoor restaurants. I don’t see myself doing that until 2021, earliest. 2022 is not out of the question. In fact, 2022 is more likely than this year for me.

    • Lizzie says:

      Same until there is a treatment/vaccine.

      • lucy2 says:

        Same here. I’m not comfortable indoors with others until there is a vaccine or treatment.

        One theater near me is opening now, against NJ’s order, and it’s big assigned seats and they’re saying 30% capacity max. You can only sit next to someone you came with, everyone else will be spaced out. But I don’t see me going anytime soon.

      • lucy2 says:

        ETA: The theater that opened near me was shut down by the health department today. They’re claiming they’ve been “unfairly targeted”, but they opened against orders and publicized it, so…?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I wish I could follow your plan. My office started making everyone come back full time during the same hours (not staggered schedules) in late April. There are a lot of people that aren’t following social distancing in the office, so I can only imaging what they are doing with their free time. If one person gets sick, they are going to take our entire firm down. I feel so vulnerable. I raised my concerns, but they essentially said that they are doing what they can to make things safe and that’s it. It seems they are more concerned about touch-contamination (like wiping off surfaces) than airborne spread…and in a office with no outside air flow, I think that is the wrong approach.

  3. Kat says:

    This kind of thing makes me feel conflicted. On one hand I say, fine, open, whatever. I’m not going and I make the decision about what is best for me and my family and I don’t care what other people do. On the other hand, I think the cases will surge and then people’s bad decisions will have negative consequences for everyone. My family is no longer in complete isolation, meaning I see my parents and sister only because they have socially distanced all these months and we have a “bubble”, but I’m not going to gatherings, restaurants etc. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    • Mac says:

      Governors are allowing theaters to open. My state has about 3% increase in daily infections. As we move to phase 2 of reopening this week, I expect to see a major spike.

    • Kaykay says:

      My husband and I, plus some other family members, have already had it. We were super careful for two months but then mysteriously got it, most likely from the grocery store.
      Up until that moment we lived in stress and fear. At this point we’ve almost forgotten there even is a virus.
      We are now well since two months back and not contagious anymore and we just want to get on with our lives already. So, why not let the individual decide for themselves. Stay home if you are scared or have compromised immune system.
      So, I can understand both sides of the spectrum.
      I was super scared until we got it. Now I couldn’t care less.

      • Allz says:

        @Kaykay That’s just really a selfish response. I’m glad you and your family are ok after getting it. We all won’t be that lucky. I have an auto immune disease, so I’m terrified of what could happen to me. I’d love to stay at home until this is over, but unfortunately I have to go in to work and I also need to pick up essential items. If we open up too soon, people like me and our elders will suffer. But I’m glad you couldn’t care less.

      • MaryContrary says:

        Seriously? You guys got it, survived so screw everyone else? Not everyone is as fortunate. It’s not an “individual decision” when OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE AFFECTED.

      • lucy2 says:

        You can’t let everyone decide for themselves when talking about a contagious and deadly disease. That’s not how it works.
        “Stay home if you are scared or have compromised immune system.” That’s all well and good if you can, but if you work at a place forcing you to come back, then what? And people who feel safe or don’t care use the same grocery stores and such that others do too.

  4. Esmom says:

    I agree that it’s too soon. I am dismayed at how many people are acting like none of this ever happened — is still happening! People not wearing masks, not attempting to distance at all.

    Both my kids’ universities are scheduled to open in August (and college football is apparently happening). At first I was pretty comfortable with that, thinking people would abide by guidelines and by August things might be in a pretty good place. But I fear we are headed in the wrong direction.

    And no, I would not go to the movies anytime soon.

    • Allz says:

      I live in a pretty conservative/Republican area in the north and people truly believe this is all a hoax. Everything is opening up and people are actually using the laughing emoji at articles about those that have died or rising cases. No one wears masks at my job. People here are nuts and normally that doesn’t affect me too much but now that I have to be reliant on others to keep myself safe, it makes me absolutely enraged. This truly won’t end for a long time.

      • Esmom says:

        I hear you, it is enraging. A couple people on my local FB chatter page are laughing about it, too, saying it was basically the flu and we are all fools to be adhering to any guidelines. We are living in a hellscape.

      • Lizzie says:

        I’ve known plenty of people with the flu and not one ever needed to be on a ventilator.
        My husband was making deliveries in trump country to Walmart when they first required employees to wear masks.
        If doctors wear masks I don’t really understand the logic of saying it’s a democratic hoax. I wish the cable news channels would stop covering him live and stop sending reporters when masks and social distancing isn’t observed.

  5. Case says:

    This is truly the scariest example of Americans having short attention spans and being bored with this virus, so we’re just going to pretend it’s gone. It’s ridiculous. I know (some) states flattened the curve, which was the initial goal of stay-at-home orders, but that means very little if we just go back to “normal” without extraordinary care. It scares me how many people I know are excited everything is reopening and are ready to live life regularly again. I love going to the movies, but you couldn’t pay me to go back to a theater this year.

    We’re well on our way to that second wave before fall at this rate. Many states are already experiencing huge spikes — we’re seeing the result of Memorial Day weekend gatherings. The logical thing would be to roll back the reopenings, right? Nah, we’re just gonna push forward anyway. -_-

    • tifzlan says:

      I agree with your point on Americans’ attention spans. I work at an extremely progressive organization and we have been working from home since early March, and will continue to do so until the second half of this calendar year. And i know these extremely left-leaning progressive folks are also driving across state lines over the weekend to go hiking or on mini vacations even though the virus is still very much real. Being non-American, I have been appalled every time i hear of these getaways.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yup, people apparently missed ALL the articles in the early spring about how this was for the long haul, it wasn’t just going to be for a month, and that we are going to see surges and spikes until there is a vaccine. It’s not gone and we’re not out of the woods. I get that the goal was to “Flatten the curve” so the hospitals could keep up with patients. But opening up at once (so it seems) like this is just going to lead to that second wave.

    • Nicole r says:

      I don’t know that it’s boredom so much as the country cannot afford to be closed any longer. Whatever billions have been spent and will continue to be spent for the next few years.. lives DO have a cost, no matter how much politicians pretend they do not.
      No one wants to say that though, because it is too scary. I personally will keep my mask on and also stick to outdoor activities.
      I’m pregnant and my husband and children have severe asthma.

      • Case says:

        Agreed that as a country, we can’t afford to stay closed long-term. That said, I just see a lack of care around the country of how things are being opened, and a lack of response to spikes. If things reopen and cases go up by thousands two weeks later, that should be an indication to scale back, not move on to the next phase of reopening. Many of these governors aren’t following their own reopening plans at this point; they’re just going for it full-steam ahead.

        The other thing is that unfortunately, parts of the economy are already wrecked long term. The arts? So many establishments have shuttered permanently that are a vital part of that ecosystem. Travel and tourism? An ENORMOUS industry that will take years to bounce back.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I don’t understand the “we can’t afford to be closed” argument. It isn’t as if re-opening and mass infection will be cheap. Opening too early is short term gain for long term massive financial expense.

      • Deering24 says:

        Financially, how does reopening really make sense? Businesses are not going to get back nearly the numbers of customers they need to stay afloat, much less make the profits needed to make up for two months’ losses. And when a second wave hits, they will have wasted money getting their places cleaned up/outdoor-ready for nothing.

    • Lizzie says:

      Sorry, this has nothing to do with American’s attention span’s or boredom threshold.
      It is the right wing trying to change perceptions of the pandemic as overblown by the dem’s. Trump is scheduling his rallies and wants them packed tight.

      • Anname says:

        Yes, we cannot afford to stay closed, and have to open in order to avoid total economic collapse. Our ridiculous government has done nothing to facilitate a safe way to do that (unlike every other first world country). So off we go, accepting thousands of sick and dead Americans every day. It boggles my mind that functioning people still support this president.

    • lucy2 says:

      I saw people within the first few weeks saying nonsense like “open up already, I’m over this.” As if a global pandemic cares whether some lady here is over it or not.

  6. OnceUponA says:

    Opening way too soon. We’re just seeing the surge from Memorial Day weekend, two weeks ago.

    Arizona running out of beds. The NorthEast and South and parts of midwest climbing.

    Read WaPo report from this morning. Listen to what Fauci said yesterday.

    Just because Trump insists we ignore it doesn’t mean it’s gone.

    Be safe, everybody. Wear masks. Social distance. Good luck.

  7. Ohpioneer says:

    It’s been about a month here in Ohio that we’ve slowly been reopening. Our new case numbers are Actually dropping. This virus is so new and unique I don’t think there is any way to accurately predict how it will proceed. Movie theatres are allowed to reopen as of yesterday but so far all the ones in my area are saying July 1st. Personally I plan to take a cautious approach ( as I’ve done with other places) and wait and see what the numbers look like after a month of being open before I dive in.

  8. Mia4s says:

    When I said I was dying to see Tenent I meant metaphorically, not literally.

  9. Albie says:

    Soon the hospitals will be overflowing with people saying ‘I can’t breathe’ What a sad irony.

  10. Rachel says:

    I think movie theater days are over. Theaters and fitness centres are the last place I’m going.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes, gyms, ugh. Mine is a little independent place that only does group training and most everyone is back at it. Distancing but without masks. Half indoors and half outdoors, he has kind of a nice setup and he’s always been a hygiene freak about keeping it clean. But for now I’m sticking with my own workouts in my basement and running/walking/biking.

  11. ME says:

    None of this make sense to me. When we all went on lockdown there were fewer cases than there are now. Many states are spiking. This is not the time to open MORE things. People are acting like the virus is gone when it’s still very much present and the numbers don’t lie. I don’t understand people’s logic. I just don’t get it.

    • Albie says:

      They think it’s over when they’ve had enough of it. It doesn’t work that way.

      • ME says:

        Exactly !

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Yes! It reminds me of a horror movie, when the kids get tired of hiding from the boogeyman and start to get comfortable with the situation. Then BAM! they all get murdered because they let their guard down.

  12. Laalaa says:

    Its, not it’s in the title ;) #sorryIhadto
    Here in Croatia, we have been corona case free for weeks. And no, cinemas are not open. So this seems too soon.

  13. Leah says:

    Too soon.

    The way things are going I wouldn’t be surprised by a corona-boom. It’s almost as if people said well I’ve had enough of being inside, I didn’t get it so let’s let loose. I can’t afford to take chances like that myself due to a preexisting condition.

    As for movie theaters what is there to miss? Paying $16 for the pleasure of someone kicking the back of your seat or using their cell phone in the middle of the show? People have tv’s and sound systems these days that make screening a film at home better anyway.

  14. KellyRyan says:

    Read yesterday were headed for a spike in Covid cases by September. I’m so accustomed to relaxing in my home with a glass of wine, a good meal and a movie I don’t have the desire to go to a theater. We’re way out here in no man’s or women’s land, 120 miles r/t. I think it’s foolish to reopen theaters. Another reminder to stay home, stay safe. I agree with Gov Newsom, CA, delayed is not denied.

  15. MellyMel says:

    I want to see Tenet as well, but I’m not willing to risk it. Maybe more drive-in movies will start to open due to all of this. I know there are some still operating around the country but not as many as there used to be.

  16. Lua says:

    They’re saying they’re in danger of going under and no longer existing, so this is throwing everything off the ship to stay afloat. Chuck-e-cheese tried to get on Uber under different names (because no one is going to order them for delivery) but people got mad and called them out. Now they’re saying they’re about to shut down all locations because they can’t make it. COVID is killing everything kid entertainment related. It’s going to be interesting to see what makes it through. The indoor playground near my home and the kids gyms are both shutting down, which is a big loss for special needs children

    • Lindy says:

      Ugh, I’m definitely grieving over some of the businesses that are shutting down, and the indoor playground / kid activity centers are making me sad. In much of the summer it’s too hot to do any outdoor activities with kids, so I love taking them to these little activity centers. No pool and no indoor play centers, and the likelihood that they won’t be able to come back from the closure is a huge bummer.

      I still won’t bring my kids, though, because I know it’s not safe and I know it’s not helpful to try to reopen too soon.

      • Lindy says:

        I should clarify that I mean the little mom and pop small businesses locally that have great little indoor playgrounds and parkour, not places like Chuck E Cheese (which as someone who is mostly deaf and relies on hearing aids is a special kind of noise hell that I hope never to be in again).

    • lucy2 says:

      Chuck E Cheese hired a new CEO this January. $600,000 annual salary, an annual performance bonus of up to $900,000 and a one-time signing bonus of $375,000. The company does close to a billion in revenue every year.
      I hope they aren’t expecting people to cry for them or support them over small businesses.

  17. Cate says:

    My husband and I really miss going to the, movies. But honestly we don’t foresee going back until there is a vaccine. There just doesn’t logistically seem to be a way to make it safe.

  18. Ali says:

    Let’s be clear.

    The virus can be spread by air conditioning.

  19. Lindy says:

    I live in Austin, TX and the insane spiking rates we’re seeing across the state are truly frightening. And meanwhile, even in Austin where you’re more likely to have at least a subset of the population that believes in science and understands what happening, I’d say I still see only about 60% of people wearing a mask in public. (On my once every two weeks grocery trip–other than that I don’t go anywhere in public, and I realize how fortunate I am to be able to be that careful. I figure that, since I *can* afford to stay locked down, it’s the least I can do so that medical resources go to the people who *can’t*).

    It’s pretty scary to me. I just can’t imagine wanting to go sit inside a movie theater any time in the next 6 months. I don’t really care about AMC but I do feel really really bad for Alamo Drafthouse, because they’re fantastic, and they made me enjoy going to movies for the first time in my life.

  20. MoP says:

    So, jumping in here. I am “presumptive positive” with our new friend, COVD-19. Thought I was going to die, and die alone. I got sick at the end of March and haven’t felt right since. I have a good day here and there when I don’t feel like the meatsack that houses my brain isn’t shutting down. It’s too soon. Today is a bad day, and I’ve never had any underlying issues. I rely on income from a business that is all about the social, so I totally understand the economic impact, so that’s a super tough call. Sometimes I feel like I’m screaming into the wind. The wind will blow back, and the wind will topple you. I was the asshole who said “oh, it’s just a flu” – anyways, all of you stay safe and healthy, and do what’s best for you.

    • MaryContrary says:

      I’m so sorry and hope you feel better soon. That is a long time to be sick :(

    • lucy2 says:

      Are you able to get tested for antibodies? It sounds like that’s likely what you have, but it might be good to know in case something else is going on.

  21. ohrhilly says:

    On one hand, we cannot keep the country closed forever. On the other, I still don’t think we have COVID-19 under any semblance of control. They can open if they want. I just won’t be there.

  22. qtpi says:

    We will be avoiding the biggest spreader areas for the foreseeable future. Church, bars, restaurants, concerts. I don’t really NEED to go to a restaurant right now. We are continuing to order take out from our favorite places to help keep them in business.

    I think the schools are already hinting at a mix of distance learning and school time in the fall. Bracing for the decision. Hoping for the school to be half full – every other day half the kids attend.

    I wish we would have had a hard shut down for 6 – 8 weeks to crush the curve. Too many people were flooding walmart, etc the whole time for non essential items. Doesn’t help that mask wearing has to be political. F*cking joke.

  23. ClareV says:

    I’ve had such bad COVID anxiety since all this started. I’m in CA where I thought Newsom was doing a good job and now it just seems like a free-for-all. My mom is a cancer patient and my dad is immunocompromised. My husband has a heart condition. I am a teacher and I am terrified that schools are going to reopen in fall. My school site has 2500 kids using 5 bathrooms. No one seems to think of the logistics of anything.

    Reading CB comments makes me feel better though. Seems like many people here are concerned and being safe and helping keep others safe by wearing masks. I wish I saw more of that in real life :/

  24. SJR says:

    IMO, way too soon.
    Got a bad feeling that come Fall the second wave is going to hit in a big, bad way.

    I am still in full Stay.At.Home mode for myself and my immediate family.
    Masks, gloves and grocery/pharmacy errands only. We are video visiting and keeping in touch by phone, have adjusted OK I think.

    Btw, in MN, we have 4 cousins who are young men 17-23 who are working in different grocery stores in their area as part time jobs, who have had C19. The 23 y/o was in hospital 8 days. This kid is typically healthy, 6’2″ very fit, zero health worries before corona. And he was following all guidelines, AND yet he was hit damn hard by the virus.

    So, yes, Be Safe, Be Kind. Have a good weekend everybody. :)